It started when I realised that I didn’t want to do anything except read. I stopped writing. I started shouting. Taking care of the baby felt like something someone else was doing; like an animatron I went through the movements, but there were cloudy panes of glass between me and everything else.
My anxiety got worse and I was checking every five minutes to make sure everyone was still breathing. Under these conditions, having a vivid imagination is a curse, not a blessing and I imagined a thousand ways in which my life could get irreparably fucked up.
I was pacing the floor with the baby tucked under my chin and I cried.
and I couldn’t stop.
And I couldn’t stop the next day, or the next, or the next.
I fantasised about running away. I didn’t want to do this anymore; be here anymore. Whose idea was it to have children, let alone three of them? It’s very easy to suffocate under the needs of others and I was drowning.
Last week, I confessed to my husband that I thought I probably had postnatal depression and that I definitely needed help. Yesterday, I saw my doctor and came home with a script for antidepressants and a small speck of hope that maybe, this would all be okay again.
It’s an interesting thing, depression. It sucks you down into the black hole, a quagmire of hopelessness and hate. The Bloggess declares that depression lies and I held onto that through the weekend, and didn’t leave, or throw coffee cups at my husband, because she’s right, depression lies and I do love this family of mine, more than words can say.
In hindsight, I probably had PND after both of my older children. I remember pacing the floor with a sleepless screaming Amy and sobbing into her head until we were both covered in snot and angst, just wanting it to be over, to be done. I remember the resentment that built up because my husband got to leave the house for work, and then got to sleep eight hours straight while I had this soul sucking black hole of need attached to my breast constantly.
Obviously things improved, and I didn’t kill Nathan, or leave, because at the end of the day, I love him.
After Isaac was born, I was too deep into the cancer journey we were on to put my own needs first. Then my grandmother died and everything went to hell and grief was killing me, but surely, it was just grief?
Hindsight is a beautiful thing.
I didn’t want to write this post. I just wanted to crawl back under my rock with a book and a packet of antidepressants and emerge in a few weeks, like a butterfly, fixed and okay again. I didn’t want to talk about it, or have it open for discussion. But life isn’t like that and depression lies.
I spent the last six months bouncing from crisis to crisis, watching my baby like she was going to die at any moment. It will fuck your head up, waiting for blood tests to tell you if your baby has a fatal disease. I was running on so much adrenaline that when it deserted me, I felt bereft and dead inside. Surely panic is a normal state of being?
Depression is a bastard thing that sneaks up on you while you’re busy with other things, until one day you look around and wonder where your happiness went.
Today might not be better than yesterday, but I’m working to make sure it doesn’t get worse.